As anyone who has visited our store over the last couple weeks can attest to, it’s cold in here, baby! And looking over a map of current US temperatures, it appears to be cold everywhere. Nothing like a simmering pot on the stove and a bottle of rugged red to cozy up to on days like these. My rugged red of choice for January’s chill is the 2010 Lacuna. Many of you probably remember the 2007 Lacuna, which made our Top Ten of 2010 list, and was easily one of the best-valued Syrahs from the vintage. Now along comes the 2010 which in composition and flavor profile is completely different from the 2007 but shares the same over-delivered quality to price ratio. Again as with the 2007, the 2010 Lacuna offers much more than the $24.98 price tag would suggest when compared to the general market.
The partnership that began Lacuna is intact though one tactical addition has been made and that is to hire on winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson from Bedrock Wine Company permanently. A wise, shrewd move boys! It’s not just Morgan’s skill as a winemaker that is so crucial to the success of Lacuna, but his sleuthhound skills at seeking out interesting, and often under-appreciated, old vineyards to source the fruit is key. The team at Lacuna all share a common vision and that is to make wine that is layered, revealing, and able to evolve. The 2010 Lacuna is comprised of 58% Syrah and 42% Petite Sirah. The Syrah comes from two sites: one planted to the Alban clone that gives off a smokey, meaty flavor and the other a windy spot that adds a component of blueberry and violets to offset the broodiness of the former. The Petite Sirah comes from a single ancient vineyard that was originally planted well over a century ago. The Petite Sirah is not the dominant component in this splendid-blended, but it certainly provides the surprise element and the overall framework for the wine. It is an established fact that while Wine House customers may favor wines with a European twist, they also gravitate towards the robustness of Petite Sirah. I have tasted the 2010 Lacuna over the course of a year now and I have been pleased at how the wine is developing in bottle. I can only surmise that it is the Petite Sirah which is doing a lot of the changing. Early on the wine was grippy and tight-fisted. Now the structure has expanded and the aromatics and fruit of the Syrah are taking center stage. There are fascinating, contrasting forces at play with the 2010 Lacuna, between the polish of the Syrah and the ruggedness of the Petite Sirah…just when you think that the smokey, blueberry fruit needs to kick into low gear, the Petite Sirah begins to rumble down the palate. Wow!
It is my belief that micro-sized wineries, like Lacuna and Juicy Rebound, who essentially make wine for themselves, to not only be the source for California’s best wine values, but also the most interesting and plain ole’ tastiest wines. There is heart and passion in the making of these wines that directly translates into the bottle.
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a beautiful, big brown-eyed girl! The gift that keeps on giving is turning nine and with that, our celebrating has neither ceased nor waned. The family is getting together once again for a traditional Russian Christmas Eve dinner. Champagne will be served and (shhh) maybe a shot or two of vodka, but then when life goes back to the old routine, I hope to be at the stove making something warm and soothing and I’ll be testing out my theory that the 2010 Lacuna is the wine to reach for during the cold days of winter. Happy New Year everyone! —Anya Balistreri